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[March 2014]



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March 2014

over photo: Director Sam Bricker and Editor and Soundman Claude DeMoss film a scene in Salida for “The Rider and The Wolf,” as mountain biker [cover] CScott Link flies high. Photo by Nathan Ward.

Donations to Larry Shaffer’s family may be submitted to any Alpine Bank on the Western Slope or mailed to Alpine Bank, PO Box 10000, Glenwood Springs,


CO 81602.



4 Viewpoint

16 Filming Vanishing Footsteps

22 Gardening

5 Letters 6 Calendar 7 Co-op News 12 NewsClips 14 Poles Apart

20 Recipes Show a little Irish in the kitchen by

24 Outdoors

Electric co-op family suffers loss when helicopter crashes on Western Slope

Filmmakers confront mystery, danger telling San Luis Valley story

adding shades of green to your meal

Questions about gardening? Chances are there’s an app for that! Thinning out elk herd benefits community, makes for tasty, homemade sausage

25 Energy Tips

There are options for energy efficient outdoor lighting

29 Funny Stories 30 Discoveries

Colorado electrical line tech school takes underwater welder into the air


50,000 $25,000 the hours an outdoor LED lightbulb can last


The official publication of the Colorado Rural Electric Association || Volume 45, Number 03

reward Mike Rust’s family is offering for information regarding his disappearance


years the electrical lineman program has been taught at Pikes Peak Community College

COMMUNICATIONS STAFF: Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor@303-455-4111; Donna Wallin, Associate Editor; • Amy Higgins, Editorial Assistant/Writer; ADVERTISING: Kris Wendtland@303-902-7276,; NCM@800-626-1181 OFFICERS: Bill Midcap [Fort Morgan] President; Don Kaufman [Sangre de Cristo] Vice President; Jack Schneider [Poudre Valley] Secretary; Jim Luek [Highline] Treasurer; Kent Singer [CREA] Executive Director BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Bill Patterson [Delta-Montrose]; John Porter [Empire]; Don McClaskey, Tom Walch [Grand Valley]; John Vader [Gunnison]; Jim Lueck [Highline]; Megan Gilman [Holy Cross]; Dan Mills, Tim Power [K.C.]; Jeff Berman [La Plata]; Stan Cazier [Mountain Parks]; Donna Andersen-Van Ness [Mountain View]; Debbie Rose [San Isabel]; Eleanor Valdez [San Luis Valley]; Dave Alexander, Kevin Ritter [San Miguel]; Randy Phillips [Southeast]; Ginny Buczek [United Power];

EDITORIAL: Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216; Phone: 303-455-4111 • Email: • Website: • Facebook: • Twitter: @COCountryLife Colorado Country Life (USPS 469-400/ISSN 1090-2503) is published monthly for $9/$15 per year by Colorado Rural Electric Association, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216. Periodical postage paid at Denver, Colorado. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 Publication of an advertisement in Colorado Country Life does not imply endorsement by any Colorado rural electric cooperative or the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Editorial opinions published in Colorado Country Life magazine shall pertain to issues affecting rural electric cooperatives, rural communities and citizens. The opinion of CREA is not necessarily that of any particular cooperative or individual.


The Hazards of Electric Work Brought Home Electric co-op family suffers tragic loss when helicopter crashes BY KENT SINGER || CREA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR || KSINGER@COLORADOREA.ORG


strength and stamina to do the hard work The entire Colorado electric co-op involved in servicing power facilities. family suffered a tremendous loss Larry was promoted to crew foreman in January 27 when a helicopter carrying 2007. This means that he had gained the an electric co-op employee and two respect of his peers to the point that they others went down, killing all three on trusted him with their lives. He was the board. leader of a band of brothers who relied on The crash claimed the life of Larry him every day for his knowledge and skills, Shaffer, a journeyman lineman with and appreciated him for his positive attitude Holy Cross Energy in Glenwood and work ethic. As fellow crew member DanSprings, as well as helicopter pilot Doug iel Nunn said in a Holy Cross press release, Sheffer and Christopher Gaskill, an Larry “was not afraid of work. It was hard to employee of Hot/Shot Infrared Inspeckeep up with him.” tions. I did not know Larry, but I understand that The three men were aboard the heLarry Shaffer he was a great storyteller and that he never licopter surveying Holy Cross electric met a stranger. I’m also told he had a great lines near Silt in western Colorado. A fund to support Larry Shaffer’s memory and always remembered anyone he They were looking for “hot spots” family has been established in his met and the details of their lives and families. where electric facilities are carryname at Alpine Bank. Donations That’s the sign of a selfless person who truly ing excessive electrical current and cares about others, and that trait was incredgenerating heat. This type of work is may be submitted to any branch ibly important to his work with his line crew. commonly done by electric utilities to on the Western Slope or mailed We are so used to flipping the switch and determine whether there are facilities to Alpine Bank, PO Box 10000, having the lights come on that we take for that need to be repaired or upgraded, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602. granted all the work that goes on behind the and to improve the efficiency of the scenes for all of us to receive the benefits of utility system. electricity. But the lights come on not as the Larry had worked at Holy Cross Energy for 28 years. He was a journeyman lineman and a crew result of some kind of magic, but as the result of the hard, and often hazardous, work performed by thousands of utility foreman. Line crews like Larry’s work every day to install and workers across the state. maintain underground and overhead power lines so that we The loss of Larry Shaffer will be felt most deeply by his can have electricity for our homes and businesses. They are family: his wife, Jo; children Dane, Cole and Stefanie; and the ones who answer the calls in the middle of the night when there is an outage, and they are the ones who literally risk their two grandchildren Hannah and Blake. He will also be deeply missed by other members of his family, by his many friends lives to make sure we stay warm and safe. and co-workers and by his church community. To become a journeyman lineman, Larry had to demonOur thoughts and prayers are with the Shaffer family, the strate a comprehensive understanding of electricity characterHoly Cross Energy family and the friends and families of the istics and principles and pass a series of written and practical other victims of this tragic accident. tests. To stay a journeyman lineman, Larry had to continually upgrade his knowledge of the industry and maintain a high level of competency in all his work tasks. It takes a special kind of person to master the complicated principles and physics Kent Singer, Executive Director of electricity flow and, at the same time, have the physical


[letters] Books for Schools Gunnison County Electric Association would like to thank Colorado Country Life for donating fiction and nonfiction books to the Gunnison Elementary School library. The library’s education assistants, Kim Fuller and Tammy Spezze, were delighted to accept the books on behalf of the school library. Mrs. Spezze was especially grateful for Jean Craighead George’s book, The Eagles Are Back, as she said Ms. George is an acclaimed children’s book author. Vicki L. Spencer, manager of external affairs, GCEA Quote Correction I love the magazine! But there was a slight misquote in the Westernaires piece, namely the quote attributed to Ronald Reagan. Ronnie may have said it, too, but the correct quote and attribution is: “There’s nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” Lord Palmerston This appears in Social Silhouettes by George W.E. Russell, published in 1906. Bonnie Simrell, Westcliffe

Fabulous Photos I want to tell you how much I enjoy your magazine. The 2014 San Isabel Electric Association photo contest winner photos are terrific. It would be nice to see some of the runner-up photos or some of the other association winners in future issues. The Funny Stories are always a kick, too; love how they brighten a person’s day. Nancy Werner, Pueblo West

Cover Girl Recognition Imagine our surprise to find our trainer, Caylee Parrish, on the January cover. Caylee was a member of the Westernaires from 2004 to January 2013. That background gave her the riding experience, advantage of teamwork and horse sense that works so well in training our young horses. Caylee is attending Colorado State University in the equine science program. With (her Westernaires’) experiences, she was able to explore her options and through an internship with CSU, we found Caylee. She is a talented trainer. Gordon and Linda Rowe, Fort Collins Got a comment? Send your letter to the editor by mail to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email March 2014 5


[March] Through March Craig The Moffat Road — 100 Years of Rails to the Yampa Valley Exhibit Museum of Northwest Colorado 970-824-6360 • museumnwco. org March 7-9 Monte Vista Crane Festival Various Monte Vista Locations 719-852-3552 • March 10 Boulder Takács Quartet Grusin Music Hall 7:30 pm • 303-492-8008 March 11 Aspen Ladysmith Black Mambazo Concert Wheeler Opera House 7:30 pm • 970-920-5770 March 11 Palmer Lake The Day the Forest Burned Documentary Showing Palmer Lake Town Hall 7 pm • palmerdividehistory. org March 13-15 Cortez Four States Ag Expo Montezuma County Fairgrounds 970-529-3486 • fourstates March 14-15 Johnstown Dinner Theater United Methodist Church 970-587-2000 March 14-16 Denver Denver Home Show National Western Complex 877-757-7469 • homeshow March 14-16 Durango Ragtime Festival Strater Hotel 800-247-4431 • durango 6 March 2014

March 14-23 Aspen/Snowmass Bud Light Spring Jam Various Aspen/Snowmass Locations

March 21-23 Denver March Powwow Denver Coliseum 303-934-8045 • denvermarch

March 15 Buena Vista Banana Belt Days Cottonwood Lake 719-395-6612 • buenavista

March 22 Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market Opera Galleria 10 am-2 pm • 970-219-3382

March 16 Aspen Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Aspen District Theatre 7:30 pm • 970-920-5770 March 18 Denver “Memories of the Ludlow Massacre” Presentation History Colorado Center 1 and 7 pm • 303-866-2394 March 18 Pueblo “Twelfth Night” Theater Performance Center Stage 7:30 pm • 719-295-7200 March 20-April 20 Breckenridge Spring Fever Festival Various Breckenridge Locations March 21 Snowmass Big Air Friday Fanny Hill 1 pm • March 21 Golden Colorado Mountain Club Festival American Mountaineering Center 303-279-3080 • March 21 Monarch Ski With a Naturalist Monarch Mountain 11 am • 719-539-5106 March 21 Parker “Fahrenheit 451” Theater Performance Pace Center 7:30 pm • 303-805-6800

March 22 Parker Giddy Up Kitty and Crowhill Bluegrass Band Mainstreet Center 7 pm • 303-805-6800 March 22 Paonia Archduke Trio plays Beethoven Blue Sage Center for the Arts 7:30 pm • 970-527-7243 March 22 Salida Geology Hike Tenderfoot Hill 10 am-12 pm • 719-539-5106 March 28 Tabernash Carpe Diem With Federico Mondelci Concert Church of the Eternal Hills 7 pm • 970-887-3603 March 28-April 6 Boulder Boulder Arts Week Various Boulder Locations March 29 Burlington Spring Fling Burlington Community Center 9 am-3 pm • 719-346-8918

March 30 Pagosa Springs Local Appreciation Day Wolf Creek Ski Area 970-264-5639 • wolfcreekski. com

[April] April 2 Grand Junction Mesa Fiber Arts Guild Meeting Noon at First Presbyterian Church 12 pm • 818-269-9948 April 4-6 Paonia “Back in the Dreamtime” Musical The Paradise Theater 970-527-6610 • www.paradise April 5 Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival Ridge Street 12 pm • breckenridgebeer April 5 Boulder Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra Macky Auditorium 7:30 pm • 303-492-8008 April 6 Limon 9Health Fair Limon School Gym 8 am-12 pm • April 10 Pueblo “Toying With Science” Event Sangre de Cristo Center for the Arts 7 pm • 719-295-7200

March 29 Monarch Kayaks on Snow Monarch Mountain 10 am-2 pm • 719-530-5081


Capture our extra layer of content on this page. See page 2 for instructions on how to enhance your reading experience or visit our website calendar.



Calendar, Colorado Country Life, 5400 N. Washington St., Denver, CO 80216; fax to 303-455-2807; or email calendar@coloradocountrylife. org. Items will be printed on a space available basis. For more information on these and other events, visit


[Y-W News]




The 68th Annual Meeting of the Members of Y-W Electric Association, Inc., was called to order by President Darrel Brenner at 6:30 p.m. on March 21, 2013, at the Eckley Community Center, Eckley, Colorado, pursuant to notice required by the Bylaws of the Association. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Manager Terry Hall led the members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. INVOCATION Pastor Norman Stott gave the invocation. DRAWING — GRAND PRIZE Manager Hall announced that the name of one member of the Association was drawn by member Don Brown from a drum containing the names of all members. The name of that member was put in an envelope to be announced at the end of the meeting. That member will be the winner of the $5,000 grand prize provided that member is present at the meeting. The names of two members attending the meeting were drawn from a different drum containing names of all members who registered at the meeting. They will be the winners of the $250 and $500 prizes and their names were also placed in envelopes to be opened at the end of the meeting. APPOINTMENT OF CREDENTIALS AND ELECTION COMMITTEE President Brenner introduced the members who have been appointed to serve on the Credentials and Election Committee. Don Brown (Chairman) ….….….… Yuma Leo Pieper….….….….….….….….….….… Akron

March 21, 2013 • Minutes

Roberta Helling ….….….….….….….… Wray Byron Weathers….….….….….….….… Yuma Tom Fuller ….….….….….….….….….….… Akron INTRODUCTION OF BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF President Brenner introduced the members of the Board of Directors, their wives who were present and members of the Y-W staff. INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS, RETIRED DIRECTORS, AND OTHERS Mark and Sheryl Farnsworth — Highline Electric Association Kent Singer — Colorado Rural Electric Association Ken Anderson — Tri-State Generation and Transmission Keith Emerson — Tri-State Generation and Transmission Sarah Carlisle — Tri-State Generation and Transmission PAST Y-W STAFF, DIRECTORS AND SPOUSES: Lucille Hardy Lucille Bledsoe QUORUM AND VOTING RULES Attorney Levi Williamson reviewed the bylaw provisions relating to quorum and voting rules. REPORT OF ATTENDANCE Mindi Segelke, office manager, reported there were 320 members registered for the meeting and this constitutes a quorum for the conducting of any business that might come before the meeting, including the election of directors.

READING OF NOTICE OF MEETING Secretary Chet Gebauer read the Notice of Annual Meeting, which includes the time and place of the annual meeting and proof of publication and the names of nominees for each of the vacancies on the Board of Directors. APPROVE 2012 ANNUAL MEETING MINUTES It was properly moved, seconded and carried that the minutes of the Annual Meeting of Members held March 22, 2012, at Akron, Colorado, be dispensed with and approved as published in the Colorado Country Life magazine. INTRODUCTION OF NOMINEES FOR DIRECTOR Manager Hall introduced the nominees for Director: Robert Bledsoe….….….…District 1 — Yuma County Roger Schenk….….….….…District 4 ­­— Washington County Stuart Travis ….….….….…District 8 ­— Town of Akron ELECTION OF DIRECTORS President Brenner announced that because there is no competition for any of the Director positions, a voice vote is appropriate. It was properly moved, seconded and carried to elect Bledsoe, Schenk and Travis to another term as directors for their respective Districts. [continued on page 8] March 2014 7


Y-W ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION, INC March 21, 2013 • Minutes

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d [continued from page 7]

2012 CREA CAMP DELEGATES Andy Molt introduced the students that Y-W sent to the 2012 CREA camp. They were Wyatt Palser, Otis; Andrew Perry, Otis; Lexi Thompson, Otis (Wyatt, Andrew, and Lexi were not able to attend the Annual Meeting); Melissa Anderson, Wray; Shelby Dunker, Akron; and Casey Krenning, Akron. They gave a slide show presentation of their time at the camp. (Kyle and Kelli Kite, Acct. #5282007004) 2013 CREA CAMP DELEGATES Andy Molt announced the delegates for the 2013 CREA camp. They are Alexandria Buchannon, Wray; Holden Ramey, Akron; Leigha Filla, Akron; Gail Hall, Akron; Taylor Krause, Akron; Haley Patterson, Otis; Anna Perez, Alternate, Akron; Zeth Schoenfeld, Alternate, Otis. 2013 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS Andy Molt announced the 2013 Scholarship winners. They are: Y-W ELECTRIC FOUR-YEAR $1,000 Melissa Anderson ….….….… Wray High School Wyatt Palser ….….….….….….Otis High School Y-W ELECTRIC $1,000 Thomas Groves ….….….….… Wray High School Alex Mekelburg ….….….….…Yuma High School Sydney Merrill….….….….…. Akron High School Austin Reed ….….….….….….… Wray High School Y-W ELECTRIC $500 Mary Elizabeth Lenz….….… Wray High School Mikaela Waitman ….….….… Idalia High School Taylor Brandon ….….….… Liberty High School Timothy Volberding….Arickaree High School Christian Hoff ….….….….….… Wray High School BASIN ELECTRIC MEMBER DEPENDENT $1,000 Shiloh Kirby ….….….….….….….Otis High School TRI-STATE GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION $500 Alexis (Lexi) Thompson ….Otis High School Shelby Dunker….….….….…. Akron High School 8 March 2014

LINE TECHNICIAN $1,000 Jaden Dreher ….….….….…. Akron High School Austin Hase ….….….….….… Liberty High School MANAGER’S REPORT Manager Hall presented his report with the aid of screen projections. The financial reports were for the year 2012. He presented and discussed the balance sheet, statement of revenue, expenses and margins, and financial ratios. The 2012 operating margins were $2,054,229. Total margins for the year were $3,806,529. Y-W met its financial ratio requirements for 2012. Hall reviewed irrigation sales for the past 20 years, since he became general manager. Irrigation sales in 2012 were the highest in those 20 years at 238 million kilowatt-hours. Total connected horsepower has stayed relatively even over 20 years. The increase in usage is due to the hot, dry, windy weather of 2012. For 2012, Tri-State increased its wholesale power rate by 4.8 percent. Y-W increased retail rates for 2012 by 4.7 percent overall. For 2013, Tri-State raised its wholesale power rates by 4.9 percent Tri-State also made a major change in the format of the rate, which mitigated the rate increase. Y-W increased rates for 2013 by 0.75 percent to large power consumers, while other class rates did not have an increase. In 2012, the Y-W load control program had 257 wells, with 25,000 total horsepower. Because of the extreme weather, 58 wells were taken out of the program. The program saved Y-W over $370,000 in power costs. A large portion of these savings were paid back to the irrigators participating in the program. Due to the change in wholesale rate format, the load control program will not be continued in 2013. Tri-State is offering a program for 2013, but the discount available is so small that the Y-W Board decided not to offer the program to Y-W irrigators. Hall reported on the status of the Republican River Compact and its potential impact on Y-W and its irrigators. Y-W made several system improvements

in 2012. Y-W rebuilt 15.5 miles of three phase distribution line and 17.3 miles of single phase line. Y-W’s contractor inspected about 6,400 poles last year. Y-W replaced 55 of these poles. In 2012, Y-W installed 79 new services and retired 54 idle services. Hall reported on the new pipeline pumping station being constructed in Y-W’s territory. It will consist of two 3,000 horsepower pumps and will be Y-W’s largest single load. Hall reported on the financials of Western United Electric and CREA, and legislation followed by CREA, and the grassroots effort started by Tri-State, called Keep Electricity Affordable. PRESIDENT’S REPORT President Brenner thanked the Y-W employees and directors for their work over the past year. Brenner asked for feedback regarding the decision to hold the meeting in the evening. (Arthur Camacho, Acct. #2074004009) He reported that Y-W paid out nearly $1.5 million in capital credits in 2012, over $7.5 million in the last 10 years and more than $18 million since Y-W was founded. The Board and staff spent time over the last two years reviewing Y-W’s capital credit policy. The Board approved a new policy for the retirement of capital credits to estates. Y-W now pays a discounted amount to estates, allowing most estates to be closed out in one payment. The Board also revised the financial management policy to provide for a maximum rotation of 25 years for capital credits. Brenner reported on the status of the LiDAR mapping project. He reviewed the many organizations that have received monetary or in-kind donations from Y-W. Y-W has provided monetary and in-kind donations to many local organizations over the years, including the National Radial Engine Exhibition, the Otis Music Festival, Old Threshers Day in Yuma, Grassroots Foundation in Joes, Old Tyme Saturday in Vernon, ARS Field Day in Akron and Christmas lights in Eckley. Y-W has provided over $15,000 per year in college scholarships to students. Brenner recognized the life and service of Kim Kessinger. Kim was the Y-W direc-

[Y-W News]




tor for District 4 in Washington County. He was killed in an accident in April of 2012. The Board appointed Roger Schenk to fill the vacant seat. TRI-STATE REPORT Jim Soehner, Y-W’s representative on the Tri-State G&T Board of Directors, reported on Tri-State’s renewable generation at Colorado Highlands, Kit Carson and Cimarron. Soehner introduced Tri-State’s CEO, Ken Anderson. Anderson spoke regarding the Keeping Electricity Affordable campaign and the challenges Tri-State faces. Many new regulations are forcing Tri-State to use less and less coal. Natural gas would cost Tri-State 45 percent more than coal if it switched all coal generation to natural gas. He reviewed several

March 21, 2013 • Minutes

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regulations that are forcing Tri-State to make investments that don’t make good sense. One regulation will require Tri-State to invest $800 million to make an improvement that is not detectable by the human eye. Anderson believes that the Tri-State Board is an environmental and economic steward of Tri-State’s members’ assets.

tees he appointed to serve this meeting with the thanks of all members.

APPROVAL OF REPORTS It was properly moved, seconded and carried that the members accept and approve the reports presented at the meeting and approve the actions of the Board of Directors for the year 2012.

ADJOURNMENT President Brenner called for any other business that should come before the meeting and, hearing none, ruled that the meeting be adjourned.

PRIZE DRAWINGS Throughout the meeting, drawings for prizes were conducted by Manager Hall. Brad Igler’s was drawn for the $5,000 prize. He was not present so the prize was not awarded.

Joneal Young, Secretary DISMISS COMMITTEES President Brenner dismissed all the commit-

Darrel Brenner, President

Test Your Electric Meter Knowledge


Americans use electricity every day. New advanced meters provide a more accurate and efficient way of keeping track of that energy use, for both utilities and consumers. A advanced meter is an electrical meter that records the consumption of electricity and sends that information back to the utility. These new meters differ from traditional meters because they allow for two-way communication between the meter and the smart grid, making it a more efficient system. The electric grid is becoming more computerized, using data designed to make our energy sources more reliable, meaning shorter restoration times and less frequent outages. The smart grid can also help consumers identify the cheapest times to use electricity to help them save money. Because this system is fairly new, there is some conflicting information out there. Do you know the difference between what is accurate and what is myth? Test your meter knowledge: • Smart meters cause cancer: MYTH. The World Health Organization labels radio frequency as a “possible carcinogen” because it lets off radiation. Some smart meters rely on radio frequency to communicate with your utility. However, this radio frequency is comparable to a garage door opener, baby monitor or wireless router. In these low amounts, radio frequency is not a threat to human health. • Smart meters create jobs: TRUE. Smart meters decrease the need for meter readers, but not metering support services. Utility companies offer jobs suitable for a variety of people with many different professional and skilled-labor backgrounds. Implementing advanced meters and monitoring the new data will create jobs.

• Smart meters may be used to violate privacy: MYTH. Smart meters are not surveillance devices. The new meters do not store personal information. Smart meters do collect information about your energy use, but you and the utility are the only ones who will have access to that information. • Smart meters will raise electricity costs: MYTH. Improvements are always an investment and generally require additional funding. Upgrading and modernizing a 100-year-old electric grid will increase the cost of electricity, but the savings that the new technology brings in minimizing energy waste will counter those up-front expenses. The grid enhancements will introduce better energy efficiency options and new pricing programs designed to help all of us use energy more wisely while offsetting those costs. A smart grid can help reduce power outages, which can be costly. To learn more about the safe and efficient use of electricity, visit Energy March 2014 9

[Y-W News] How to Prevent Copper Theft


As the price of copper has increased, so has copper theft. While trying to make a quick dollar by stealing copper, thieves risk their own lives and cause dangerous and expensive damage. Common targets for copper thieves are farming equipment, air conditioners, vacant buildings, construction sites and electric utility properties, including substations and power poles. The Safe Electricity program encourages you to help stop copper theft by reporting suspicious activity near any of these locations. Copper theft from electric utilities is particularly hazardous to thieves and also to those who rely on electricity. In the past few years, copper thieves have caused power outages at businesses and homes, shut down traffic lights and forced hospitals to run on backup generators. In the worst cases, copper thieves have caused fires and explosions that have taken innocent lives. Safe Electricity suggests the following tips to stay safe and help stop copper theft: (3L Land LLC, Acct. #832006505) z Never enter or touch equipment inside a substation; stay away from power lines and anything touching a power line. z If you notice anything unusual with electric facilities, such as an open substation gate, open equipment or hanging wire, contact your electric utility immediately. z If you see suspicious activities near electric facilities, call emergency services or your local utility. Do not intervene. Allow officials to handle the situation. z If you work in construction, store copper securely, especially overnight. z Install motion-sensor lights on the outside of your house and business to deter possible thieves. z Store tools and wire cutters in a secure location, and never leave them out while away. (Church of Christ, Acct.#2042006000)



Each month, Y-W Electric offers members a chance to earn a $20 credit on their next electric bill. If you recognize your name and account number in this magazine, call 800-660-2291 and ask for your credit. It couldn’t be easier. Members claiming their $20 credit from the January 2014 issue were Freeman Morris, Marlene Minton and Larry and Anita Johnson Get acquainted with your account number, read your Colorado Country Life magazine and pick up the phone. That’s all the energy you’ll need to claim your energy bucks. You must claim your credit during the month in which your name appears in the magazine (check the date on the front cover). 10 March 2014



Y-W Electric is offering a renewable energy program subject to renewable energy being available from Y-W’s wholesale electric power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Members may sign up for a set amount of renewable resource power in 100-kilowatt-hour per month increments. There will be a small premium of 9 cents per 100-kWh block in addition to the present rate. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has purchased output electricity from wind farms, hydropower projects and solar power to provide this service.

Guidelines for Green Power Rate Availability — To all Y-W Electric members in

100-kWh per month blocks.

Eligibility — Any Y-W Electric member, who must complete and return to Y-W Electric an Intent to Purchase Renewable Generated Power Application. This form will indicate the number of 100-kWh blocks the member intends to purchase monthly. (Merle and Charlotte Ritchey, Acct. #1240616600) Rate — The rate will be a renewable power

premium (added charge) for all renewable power delivered to the member participant as committed in the Intent to Purchase Renewable Generated Power Application. The renewable rate will be 9 cents per 100-kWh block in addition to the present rate applicable to the member.

Duration — Once the member has committed to the purchase, this rate shall qualify on a monthto-month basis.



City, State, ZIP Code Number of Green Power blocks of 100 kWh

Signature I have committed to this purchase. This rate shall qualify on a month-to-month basis. December 2013 11


Co-op Representatives Visit Colorado Capitol

CREA Board Elects Officers


A new president has been elected to lead the board of the Colorado Rural Electric Association, the statewide trade association for Colorado’s electric cooperatives. Bill Midcap, who represents Morgan County Rural Electric Association in Fort Morgan and previously served as vice president, was elected president at the CREA Board of Directors January meeting. He officially took office following the CREA Annual Meeting February 11. Other officers elected for the coming year include Donald Kaufman of Sangre de Cristo Electric Association in Buena Vista, who was elected vice president; Jack Schneider of Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association in Fort Collins, who was elected secretary; and Jim Lueck of Highline Electric Association in Holyoke, who was elected treasurer. Outgoing board president Robert Bledsoe of Tri-State Generation and Transmission and K.C. Electric Association in Hugo, will also serve as an ex officio member of the CREA executive committee. Organized in 1945, CREA is composed of the state’s 22 electric distribution cooperatives and one generation and transmission cooperative. The governing board is composed of one representative from each of its member cooperatives.

Bill Midcap

Donald Kaufman

Jack Schneider

Jim Lueck

Monday, February 10 was Co-op Day at the Capitol for representatives of the Colorado Rural Electric Association’s member electric co-ops. In Denver for CREA’s annual meeting, co-op directors, managers and staff members spent the morning viewing legislative action in the House and Senate chambers and hearing from legislators. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke to the group in the Old Supreme Court Chambers, discussing water issues, energy efficiency and last year’s Senate Bill 13-252. Regarding SB 13-252, Gov. Hickenlooper said he received commitments last year from both Republicans and Democrats that they would work together to fix any major problems, such as the distributed generation requirement. The governor also complimented CREA Executive Director Kent Singer as a “tireless advocate” for the co-ops. Others speaking to the group during its visit to the Capitol included Sen. Greg Brophy (RDist.1), Sen. Kevin Grantham (R-Dist.2) and Rep. Don Coram (R-Dist. 58).

Robert Bledsoe

More Wind for Tri-State Co-ops


Electric co-ops that receive their electricity from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Westminster will soon have more wind power as part of their resource mix. In February, Tri-State entered a 25-year agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for a 150-megawatt wind power generating facility to be built in eastern Colorado. Tri-State will purchase the entire output and associated environmental attributes from the facility, which will be known as the Carousel Wind Farm. This will be Tri-State’s largest wind energy power purchase agreement. “This was a timely and costeffective opportunity for us to diversify our generation fleet and deepen our expertise in the challenging area of integrating variable energy resources,” said Brad Nebergall, Tri-State’s senior vice president. The project will interconnect to existing Tri-State transmission facilities in the Burlington area and is possible only because of planned transmission upgrades in the area. The upgrades have been in the planning process since 2010 12 March 2014

and are expected to be completed in 2016. Nebergall noted that constraints in the grid system are making it increasingly harder to site and construct generation facilities in the region. “One of the important factors in this agreement with NextEra was having the project completed at the same time as those system (transmission) upgrades,” said Nebergall. “We can’t reliably purchase and deliver the output from Carousel to our member systems without the appropriate transmission infrastructure.” The new facility will ultimately contribute to an increasingly diverse energy portfolio for TriState. Today, renewable resources generate approximately 23 percent of the energy that Tri-State provides its member systems. In addition, the company has adopted a first-of-its-kind program in the nation that provides incentives for the development of communitybased renewable energy projects within its member systems’ service territories. To date, Tri-State member cooperatives have 38 projects representing a total of 52 megawatts in place or under development. March 2014 13



Patrick Biegel (right) works with climbing partner Levi Thaute at a line tech rodeo at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs.



Below the surface of the ocean or high above the ground, Patrick Biegel likes a little adventure in the workplace. “I’m not really an office person. I can’t stay inside all day,” Biegel said. Biegel, 25, spent six years as an underwater welder in the Gulf of Mexico. He left that in 2011 to work at a Colorado Springs bar and save money for line school, a training program for electrical lineworkers. He showed what he learned in the 15-week program at a recent “rodeo” that featured 20 graduating students performing skills they’ll need on the job, while more than three stories off the ground. All the graduates of the Trinidad State Junior College Rocky Mountain Line School spent at least 400 hours in the classroom and another 100 hours on a pole, up to 35 feet above earth. Adding to the pressure was a group of professional observers, looking for new employees. “The last class, I think we got three out of there. And the one before that, I think we got two,” said Stan Plutt from Colorado Powerline in Castle Rock. At the “pole farm” at Pikes Peak Community College, instructor Dave King oversees a program that is now five years old and runs under the authority of Trinidad State. Trinidad State also operates a line technician program in Trinidad. Graduates come away with 50 skills critical to electrical lineworkers, and they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, highway safety and the operation of large trucks. Hanging from poles all day, often in bad weather, is demanding work. “Some guys and gals just aren’t made for this,” King said. “This is really a tough job; (there are) a lot of hazards out there and we have to watch each other’s backs and make sure everyone goes home safe.” Students come out of this program with a realistic idea of what they’ll be doing each day. Before moving to Colorado, Biegel specialized in underwater demolition on obsolete oil platforms. His job included cutting steel underwater. Though only in his early 20s, Biegel knew it couldn’t last. “Diving to those deep depths every day, it takes a toll on your body,” he said. “It messes up your joints, your spine. You can get air embolisms, bubbles in your blood.” Now Biegel is fully committed to becoming an electrical lineman. “I love it. It’s just kind of what I like to do. Similar danger levels, I guess.” The demand for electrical lineworkers is strong as baby boomers retire and the nation’s energy grid grows. 14 March 2014

Graduates from Rocky Mountain Line School demonstrate their skills on graduation day, April 26, 2013.

A lone student braves bitter cold at a line technician demonstration in Colorado Springs on December 6, 2013.

Down the line …

Today, Biegel works primarily on underground wiring for new home construction for Colorado Powerline in the Castle Rock area. He started at $16 an hour and was given a raise after he hit the 90-day mark. He said his training at Trinidad State pushed him up the ladder in his field. “They actually do hire guys that don’t go to school,” Biegel said, “but they don’t hire them for nearly as much money, and they take about six months to fully understand what’s going on.” Comparing his new job with his old one, Biegel gave the nod to electrical line work. “I feel it’s a lot safer. I mean it is dangerous, but every time I went under the water, I risked not coming back up. It’s safer, you get to go home every day, I get to have a life, and I get paid well.” In December 2013, another class graduated from Rocky Mountain Line School. This time, the rodeo featured another challenge. Colorado was in the grip of a weeklong arctic blast. Snow flurries threatened and the thermometer hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. But since these conditions are part of the life of a line technician, the show went on. The class of 22 climbed into the milky sky without hesitation. “Most schools probably wouldn’t have graduation on a day like this,” said T.J. Tompkins, a student from La Junta. “These guys want to, to get us used to the real thing.” Greg Boyce is the director of marketing and communications at Trinidad State Junior College. March 2014 15

The view from Mike Rust’s house looks east across his land toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The San Luis Valley is a land of long views.





BANG. BANG. BANG. I jump about a foot from my cozy perch on the recliner, our black Lab howls with delight and my partner, Nick, asks, “You expecting anyone?” “Nope,” I say, shaking my head and pressing pause on the movie in progress.

Bricker and Ward settle on the couch and try to relax, but a palpable mix of excitement and fear oozes from their direction. With a few giant slurps, they drain the beers I toss their way. I muster all my willpower to quell the barrage of questions bouncing around my head and we share an awkward, silent moment. When we met them two weeks ago, their brilliance, passion and creativity made a strong impression, but we haven’t seen them since and I honestly have no idea why they’re sitting in our living room. They fidget a bit, we fill the space with small talk and then, whether emboldened by the alcohol or a sudden feeling of comfort, words flow. “We’re working on a film about Mike Rust, a hall of fame mountain biker who vanished without a trace years ago.” This simple statement from Bricker opens the floodgates. Amidst a furious volley of sentences, Bricker and Ward weave together the plot of an action-packed western murder mystery. Unfortunately, there’s nothing fictional about what they tell us.

Having just moved to sleepy Salida, a visit from anyone other than the UPS man startles us. I throw open the creaky red door and find Sam Bricker and Nathan Ward, the creative

A 2009 photo of Mike Rust shows him near the time of his disappearance near Saguache.

minds behind Grit and Thistle Film Company, buzzing with frenetic energy in the calm, cool summer air. They apologize for bugging us this late, but say it’s important. 16 March 2014

Near dark on March 31, 2009, Mike Rust returned to the unique homestead he built on 80 acres of wild land outside of the tiny town of Saguache. He noticed motorcycle tracks heading around the west side; you would only park there to remain hidden from view, so he entered his home on high alert. His binoculars were slightly out of place and a revolver was missing. These clues confirmed his worst fears. In a fit of rage, he called a friend and told her he was going to follow the tracks heading away from his house. That was the last anyone heard of this beloved, humble, free-spirited 56-year-old visionary.

Mike pioneered many of the best bike trails in Colorado, made countless innovative contributions that shaped the bicycles we ride today and helped push Salida to the top of Colorado riding fame. Despite these stellar accomplishments and a place in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, few people know his name and even fewer know what happened after he tried to settle into a simpler life. Evidence found shortly after he vanished, including a bloodstained gun butt and vest, suggests that Mike met a ghastly end after catching up with whomever had disturbed his home. But with no body or definitive answers, Mike’s disappearance leaves countless unanswered questions and even more broken hearts.

“There was a little blip of news around the time he vanished and then the story disappeared. I thought someone needed to tell it,” says Ward, a writer and photographer raised in Salida. “You don’t always find compelling stories in your backyard, but this one is worth telling and spending life energy on.” Ward had been looking for an opportunity to make the leap to film so he approached Bricker, a local filmmaker who shares his passion for cycling and meaningful work. Rather than heed multiple warnings to leave the past in its

Mike Rust’s solar shack sits near the base of Copper Butte, built almost entirely from recycled materials. It was the scene of the break in.

place, this duo jumped in the deep end and started digging. At first, their inquiries met with resistance and fear, but with persistence and time they gained the trust of Mike’s family and friends. From then on, staying silent about this tragedy wasn’t an option. “When we first went to Mike’s property with his brothers and stood on the very spot where Mike most likely died, we knew we had to tell this tale,” says Bricker. But even these intrepid veteran storytellers didn’t realize exactly what that would entail or how all encompassing this story would become. When they banged on our Shooting a bike scene near Salida, the filmmakers use some of door that night last July, they were beginthe most advanced camera gear available. (Left to right) Claude ning to figure it out. DeMoss, the soundman/editor; Chris Vallier from Flot; and Director Sam Bricker get to work.

Earlier that day, Marty Rust, the youngest of seven in Mike’s clan, had phoned with promising news: An informant had specific directions that would supposedly lead to Mike’s bones. Moved by their dedication to Mike’s story, Marty had come to trust Bricker and Ward so he called to see if they would join the hunt. “He wanted to go down with a posse, but didn’t know if it was a setup or an ambush (by the perpetrators or someone related to them) or not. That was our clue to come prepared and armed,” says Bricker. Ward and Bricker, who are both fathers and husbands, started “freaking themselves out.” They had come to our house seeking advice from my ex-Army Ranger boyfriend who they thought would “know about this stuff.” They wanted to support Marty, who remains committed to the search and doggedly pursues any lead that may bring him closer to justice, but they began to question the wisdom of tagging along on such a risky venture. Though we were fascinated, we didn’t have many answers. The following morning, Bricker and sound man/editor Claude DeMoss joined the search for Mike’s remains while Ward stayed home. The two admit that determining how deeply to get involved has been a constant and challenging process. “This time our team was split,” says Ward. “You can’t tell a story accurately without being involved to some level, but you can tell it without getting overly entrenched. I didn’t want to become part of the story, so I decided not to go. Everyone has to make their own call, especially since we’re dealing with an unsolved murder.”

A Ruger P89 — not your normal film gear.

[continued on page 18] March 2014 17

[continued from page 17]

Driven by a desire to make a difference, these budding filmmakers have gracefully endured countless harrowing experiences and have pushed through fear to craft “The Rider and The Wolf,” a documentary-narrative about Mike’s contribution to mountain biking and the effect that five years of fruitless searching has had on his tight-knit family. “Just think about what it would be like to lose a brother or sister and not know … never know, perhaps in this case,” says Ward. “A vital part of their life has been ripped out. They’re still hurting and looking for resolution.” Despite noble motivations, the pair admits this effort has been far from easy or typical. In a year of filming throughout Colorado, they’ve gone on body hunts for bones where everyone is armed to the teeth, dropped cameras down mine shafts to see what’s down there, interviewed trackers, psychics and people who are still out there looking for Mike Rust and traded peace of mind for nightmares. “I’ve been on edge,” says Bricker, who admits he’s started sleeping with a gun nearby because whoever killed Mike could be watching or show up at any time. Incredibly, these toils have strengthened, not shaken, their resolve to share Mike’s story through a piece that tests the limits of adventure film. To this end, they have created a “mountain biking film turned murder mystery” that explores larger, relevant themes like self-protection rights, family breakdowns and the worldwide missing person epidemic. “This is a real-life western with outlaws, cowboys on horseback and reward posters. Mike’s plight is the reality of life in the West where lawlessness still rules,” says Bricker who contends that the silent, giant expanse of the San Luis Valley and the breathtaking yet menacing Sangre de Cristo peaks played a role in Mike’s saga. “The valley just feels different. You have to experience it to understand it. Here Mike found the freedom and independence he needed, but it was the pursuit and defense of these values that ultimately led to his demise. Thus, this unique part of the West acts as another character in our film. What happened couldn’t have taken place in the same way somewhere else.” They are quick to point out, however, that the goal of the film is not to solve the crime, but to tell the tale as they feel it should have been told in the beginning. “Mike shaped mountain biking, but he chose a different path. Just because you move out to the middle of nowhere and live simply, your life is not worth any less,” says Ward. To highlight the role of the landscape and to properly celebrate the life of this largely unknown but extremely influential cyclist, Bricker and Ward took extra steps to maintain authenticity. They

used Mike’s personal possessions and bikes he built as props, and they filmed riding scenes on bike trails that Mike pioneered. With help from Mike’s family and information from his last phone call and the police report, they also re-created the last hours of Mike’s life; local actor Curtis Imrie plays Mike and the Rust brothers play the perpetrators. “That was an eerie, unnerving, emotional experience for us all,” says Bricker of shooting on the exact day and hour Mike disappeared and at the exact spot where the searchers found his bloody vest. Even with only one camera, a three-person crew, a number of nonactors and “pure guerilla filmmaking techniques,” they pulled off an extremely accurate re-enactment. “At the end, (Imrie) is lying on the ground in the dark in the exact spot where Mike was probably knocked out or killed,” says Ward. This potent and dramatic moment drives home how lonely, scary and vulnerable it must have felt to chase strangers through a sea of sagebrush in the dark. “The immensity of the landscape breeds a hopeless feeling. You can imagine the hopelessness that the searchers must have felt in the days following his disappearance and what Mike’s family must feel every time they go down there. It’s not a needle in a haystack; it’s much worse than that.” Once back in the editing room, the real work began. With more than 9,000 video clips, countless sound bites, footage from dated television interviews and inspiring narration written by Ward, the editors had a daunting task. “Fitting together all the parts to complete the beautiful 10,000-piece puzzle before me was daunting,” says Bricker about editing his longest film to date. “We only had one shot to tell this story, and I wanted to make sure the film honored Mike and got people talking.” Powered solely by the idea that they could make a difference, Bricker and Ward made the most of their “one shot.” Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges and pressure of the last year, they created a unique adventure film that delves into mystery and pays tribute to an incredible man and those who continue to wander the Colorado hills in his name. “We’re probably stupid to confront danger and mystery in our own backyard, but once you get so far in, you have to keep going,” says Ward. “Most people with missing family don’t get another chance. This is their last chance, and we want to show them someone cares.”

The Rust family is still offering a $25,000 reward for information regarding Mike’s disappearance. Christine Kassar of Salida is an accomplished writer, editor and photographer specializing in outdoor adventures.

Read more of this story and see more photos from the making of the film “The Rider and the Wolf” at Click on the feature story or the digital replica version of the magazine. Submit any tips concerning Mike Rust’s disappearance at See “The Rider and the Wolf” movie trailer at Learn more about Grit and Thistle Film Company at 18 March 2014 December 2013 21


A Pinch of GREEN Will Steal the Scene Add some flavor and flair to dishes in time for St. Paddy’s Day BY AMY HIGGINS || AHIGGINS@COLORADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG All-Purpose Peeler

Peelers are great for trimming vegetables, but they are also wonderful utensils for making chocolate shavings. Just run the peeler over the edge of a chocolate block and voila!


March is madness: college basketball nail-biters, wacky weather and that delightful any-excuse-to-wear-shamrocksand-drink-green-beer holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. While this anniversary recognizes St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, it has also evolved into a celebration of green food, green drink and lots of laughter. Green goes great in many meals and comes in an array of flavors: sweet, zesty, creamy, you name it. The Colorado Country Life staff found these green-tinted recipes to be simple and scrumptious.

St. Patrick’s Day Pudding 3 1/2 cups cold milk 1 teaspoon green food coloring 2 boxes (4-servings size each) vanilla instant pudding 1 (8-ounce) tub of whipped topping 1 (18-ounce) package Oreos, coarsely crushed Shamrock candies, green sprinkles for garnish

Irish Trivia Nine of the people who signed our Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin, and 19 presidents of the United States proudly claim Irish heritage ­­— including our first president, George Washington.

Nonstick Solution Lightly coat your measuring spoon or cup with cooking spray before measuring out sticky ingredients, such as honey or molasses. The oil will make the sticky substance slide right off.

Pour milk into large bowl. Stir in food coloring. Add pudding mixes and beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir in whipped topping. In trifle bowl, layer half of the crushed cookies; spread half of the pudding mixture on top. Repeat. Garnish with shamrock candies or green sprinkles. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Cucumber Cups 2 English cucumbers 1 container hummus 1 teaspoon paprika 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

3/4 cup seedless green grapes 1/2 cup ripe banana slices 1/4 cup chopped kale 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil 1/2 cup ice cubes In blender, combine all ingredients. Blend 30 seconds to 1 minute or until desired smoothness is achieved. Source:

Peel cucumbers and slice into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Using melon baller, carve out seeds to create a vessel, making sure to leave bottom intact. Using piping bag or small spoon, fill each with hummus, about 1 teaspoon each. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped parsley. 20 March 2014

Powerhouse Green Smoothie

Source: Sabra

Kiwi-Avacado Salsa Use the Layar app to scan this page and watch a video showing you how to stir up a delicious Kiwi-Avacado Salsa or visit our website recipe page and click on the video link.

Find more delicious green recipes at Click on Recipes. December 2013 21


Appealing Apps for Garden Growers

If you have questions about gardening, chances are there’s an app for that BY EVA ROSE MONTANE || ABUNDANTEARTHGARDENS.COM || GARDENING@COLORADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG


The National Garden Bureau is always making it easier for more people to enjoy gardening. Since that really sums up my goal as well, I’m sharing with you the findings of its research on the most useful gardening apps for smartphones, tablets and the like. They can help with garden planning as well as identifying the plants you already have in your garden. Simply search for these apps by name. Armitage’s Greatest Perennials and Annuals This app is handy for filtering by annual or perennial, by those that are sun or shade lovers, or by flowers or leaves. Useful information is included for each plant. The app is photo-rich and features short videos where Dr. Allan Armitage shares his tips and tricks. Additionally, you can create favorite lists and wish lists for gift ideas. The app costs $4.99 and can be found in your iTunes store. Foolproof Plants for Small Gardens This app is helpful for finding plants that aren’t going to eat your home and garden. Whether your garden is large or small, if you appreciate plants that stay on the smaller side and won’t take over, this easyto-navigate guide with detailed information on a range of “highperforming” plants is for you. It’s available on iPhone and Android for $2.99. Garden Minder This comprehensive app gives the user the option to design a garden from a pre- 22 March 2014

health of your trees and aid in making appropriate selections. It’s available on iPhone and Android for $1.99.

planned template or from scratch and offers an A to Z reference guide of vegetables with growing instructions. It is geared toward the gardener growing vegetables and other edibles in raised beds. It’s free from your iTunes store. Garden Compass Have you ever wished you had a team of garden advisors at your disposal to identify a plant, pest or disease? Welcome to Garden Compass. Just submit a photo, and a horticulture expert will identify the problem and offer suggestions on what to do about it. This app is free from your iTunes store. Purdue Tree Doctor Developed by experts at Purdue University, this app will help you identify and manage tree problems of many stripes and causes. Whether you are a professional or novice, this app can help improve the

Purdue Annual Doctor and Purdue Perennial Doctor These two apps are the herbaceous counterparts to the previous tree app, addressing hundreds of varieties of plant problems. Each is available available for $0.99 in your iTunes store. Rocky Mountain Wildflowers Developed by Al Schneider, president of the San Juan Four Corners Native Plant Society in Durango, this app is not about gardening but has gotten rave reviews by lovers of wild plants for help in identifying our state’s wildflowers. Buy this app for $9.99 from your iTunes store. When in doubt, ask These apps are reliable, but some of the information may not be applicable for your specific region. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local nursery, from a master gardener or from a horticultural extension agent if something doesn’t seem right. Use the Layar app to scan this page to find apps. Eva Rose Montane hosts a cutting-edge series on gardening in Colorado. Read more gardening advice at Click on Living in Colorado and then Gardening. February 2014 23


Taking On the Urban Elk Invasion Thinning out elk benefits the community in myriad ways BY DENNIS SMITH


It’s late January as I write this and another frigid CanaGrandson Brandon is dian storm front is about to conducting a taste test descend upon us. The boys on a batch of elk breakfast sausage he made. and I have just finished processing the last of the three elk we’ve taken from the mountain behind my eldest son’s cabin in the foothills west of town. To be frank, though, this was no ordinary hunt. In fact, it can’t be considered a hunt in the traditional sense. Then again, in the traditional sense, these were no ordinary wild elk. They were urban elk, part of the massive herd that has overrun Rocky Mountain National Park over the years and filters into nearby foothill communities every fall. These elk have become habituated to life in the suburbs. They’ve lost much of their native fear of humans, cars, trucks, tractors, backyard pets, livestock and all the other accoutrements of civilized life. They wander at will through our properties, knocking down fences, grazing on lawns and gardens and feeding on fruit trees and ornamental shrubs. They can demolish an alfalfa crop or hay field in a matter of days. The bulls can be dangerously unpredictable during the rut, as can cows with calves in the spring. An elderly lady in Estes Park was seriously injured in her own garden a few years ago when she was unknowingly caught between a cow elk and its calf. And therein lies the problem: Wild animals, particularly large ones that become adapted to suburban life, can be dangerous and destructive. Their numbers must be controlled and the single most efficient, humane and cost-effective method is through licensed hunters. Each year the Colorado Parks & Wildlife awards a number of private land only licenses to hunters willing to harvest these animals in lieu of a traditional hunt. It’s important to remember these volunteers are actually performing a critical public service with permission from and at the request of both landowners and the CPW. For the men and the boys in the family, processing our own game has become a family affair and this year was an educational experience for all of us. We harvested three deer in addition to the elk we hunted. The amount of work involved in converting them all to steaks, roasts and variety sausages was quite an undertaking. My grandsons Dawson and Brandon became incredibly adept at running the meat grinder, mixing the spices, computing lean meat to fat ratios to create the perfect consistency for stuffing the various sausage casings and conducting taste tests before proceeding with the bulk batches. One night they produced nearly 50 pounds of packaged “bam burger,” their own special concoction of ground elk sirloin. It’s incredibly delicious. More importantly perhaps, they witnessed firsthand how their food is handled from rifle shot to the frying pan and participated in the entire process. And the best part is yet to come when we get to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Watch Colorado’s majestic elk at or scan this page. 24 March 2014

[energy tips]


Light outdoor spaces for beauty and safety BY JAMES DULLEY


What are some good options for efficient outdoor lighting?

We’re looking for photos of readers and their copy of Colorado Country Life. Got a great pic of you or your family member with the magazine at some fun place? Send it and your name and address to We’ll post it on our Facebook page. And on the last day of the month we’ll draw a winner from the submissions and send that winner a $25 gift card.

Ramona Phipps from Sterling is January’s winner!

Motion-sensor lights are some of the most efficient and effective for security. Select one with two-level lighting. You can switch it on for low-level background lighting; it only switches to full brightness when motion is detected. Consider solar-powered motion-sensing floodlights and spend a little extra for an ample battery pack. These lights continue to operate even after a few consecutive cloudy days with little recharging sunlight. A motion-sensing two-bulb Light emitfloodlight is mounted over ting diodes are a garage door. It stays on for 60 seconds after no motion is great and are detected. not affected by the cold. With a bright white light output, LEDs last up to 50,000 hours. Their light output is directional, so they are best for lighting specific targeted areas. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs when installing low-cost standard 120volt outdoor lighting fixtures. These use one-quarter as much electricity as standard incandescent bulbs and last at least 10 times longer. CFLs do not always work well in cold outdoor temperatures and take a little while to reach full brightness. Read the packaging to see if the bulb is intended for outdoor use. To light a larger area for an entire night, low-pressure sodium fixtures are efficient. The fixtures are fairly expensive and they start up slowly before reaching full brightness. The light quality is monochromatic (yellowish) so they would only be applicable for security and not for entertainment lighting. For more information on outdoor lighting, visit Click on Energy Tips. March 2014 25 26 March 2014

[marketplace] PREVENT DEADLY ACCIDENTS Install tamper resistant outlets and ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent electric shocks. Scan this ad with Layar and watch a young man explain the importance of GFCIs. Or visit

You Could Win a Sweet iPad Mini! See page 2 for details on how to win the iPad mini

Scan these pages to better connect with these advertisers. See page 2 for instructions. March 2014 27

[classifieds] TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD Please type or print your ad on a separate paper. Indicate how many months you would like your ad to run and which month to start. There is a minimum of 12 words at $1.63 per word/month. Be sure to include your full name and address for our records. Check MUST accompany this order or call to pay by credit card. Send your ad before the 10th of the month to: mail: Colorado Country Life 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 phone: 303-902-7276 fax: 303-455-2807 email:



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KONA, HAWAII, Paradise Villa condo located on the 18th fairway of Kona Country Club with sweeping ocean views; 3bdr, 2ba specials. (503) 369-2638; www.konacondo. info (116-05-14)

WANTED TO BUY NAVAJO RUGS, old and recent, native baskets, pottery. Tribal Rugs, Salida. 719-539-5363, b_inaz@ (817-06-14) OLD COLORADO LIVESTOCK brand books prior to 1975. Call Wes 303-757-8553. (889-08-14) OLD COWBOY STUFF–hats, boots, spurs, chaps, Indian rugs, baskets, etc. ANYTHING OLD! Mining & railroad memorabilia, ore carts! We buy whole estates. We’ll come to you! Call 970-759-3455 or 970-565-1256. (871-05-14) OLD GAS AND OIL items: Gas pumps, advertising signs, globes, etc. Pieces, parts, etc. considered. Also 1932-34 Ford cars and trucks, parts and pieces, too. Any condition. Brandon, 719-250-5721. (519-11-14)

SAWMILL EXCHANGE: North America’s largest source of used portable sawmills and commercial equipment for woodlot owners and sawmill operations. Over 800 listings. THE place to sell equipment. 800-459-2148 www.sawmill . (267-09-14)




WANT TO PURCHASE minerals and other oil/gas interests. Send details to: PO Box 13557, Denver, CO 80201. (402-03-14)

FREE COLOR CATALOG. 193 varieties, Cornish Cross, standard breeds, fancy chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, bantams, guineas, pheasants, quail, supplies, video. 417-532-4581. PO Box 529, Lebanon, MO 65536. www. (876-07-14)

NFR & PBR RODEO TICKETS – Las Vegas. All seating levels available. Call 1-888-NFR-rodeo (1-888-6377633) or *BBB Member; Since 1990. (912-11-14)

WE PAY CASH for minerals and oil/gas interests, producing and nonproducing. 800-733-8122 (099-02-15)

INCUBATORS, BROODERS, EGG WASHERS; buying/selling. Hatching chicks, waterfowl, gamebirds, rabbits. Catalog. 218-253-2291, (14404-14)

Daylight-saving time starts March 9 — Spring ahead.

BECOME AN ORDAINED Minister by correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Rd, Ste 1 - #114, Peoria, AZ 85381. (44106-14)

VACATION RENTAL BRING YOUR HORSES: Rent our 4br log home, near Red Feather Lakes. Ride Roosevelt National Forest: 5 nights or weekend. 765-438-6488, (159-06-14) HISTORIC WALDEN Rock House, 413 Lafever, Walden, CO. One day/ short stay. 970-723-4736 www. (138-06-14)

OLD POCKET WATCHES – working or non-working and old repair material. Bob 719-859-4209 watch (870-06-15)

Advertise in Colorado Country Life’s classified section!

Call Kris at 303-902-7276 to place a classified ad.

[funny stories] My son Mike, a veterinarian, felt ill and went to see his doctor.

A 45-year-old man who had never left New York City decided to

The doctor was asking about symptoms and how long they had been occurring when Mike interrupted him: “Hey, look, I’m a vet. I don’t need to ask my patients these kinds of questions.” He added smugly, “ I can tell what’s wrong just by looking. Why can’t you?” The doctor nodded, stood back, looked his patient up and down, quickly wrote out a prescription and handed it to Mike. “There you are,” the doctor said. “Of course, if that doesn’t work we’ll have to put you to sleep.”

take a trip to Colorado. He landed in Denver, rented a car and started driving south. As he drove he was awestruck by all the beauty surrounding him. Approaching Huerfano County he noticed a cow birthing a calf out in a pasture. In a panic, he pulled over, jumped out of the car, crawled under the fence, ran up to the cow and pulled on the calf. He landed it, wiped the sweat off his brow, wiped down the calf and smacked it on the rear. “Whew! There you go, crazy little cow,” the man said. “Next time, watch where you’re going!” Amy Valdez, Gardner

Liz Ackerman, Cheyenne Wells

My 8-year-old grandson, Bradley, asked if I had a picture of myself when I was young, so I showed him a black-and-white photo of me with my brothers and sisters. “Ahhh, how sad,” he said. “All you had to wear back then was black and white.” Darlene Hammond, Peyton

We pay $15 to each person who submits a funny story that’s printed in the magazine. At the end of the year, we draw one name from those submitting jokes and that person will receive $150. Send your 2014 stories to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email funnystories@ Don’t forget to include your mailing address, so we can send you a check. March 2014 29


What a Squirrelly Chair!


Feeding the squirrels? As if they can’t feed themselves! This little chair may need a sales job for anyone who has ever matched wits against commando units of the furry-tailed rodents that are after the seed in the birdfeeder. These little chairs’ marketers claim that they can distract squirrels from said birdfeeders. Hmmm. We’ve yet to be convinced of that, but there’s no doubt that the miniature retro metal chair, advantageously placed, provides a great stage for squirrel comedians to amuse human viewers. Don’t put it outside a window by your home office if you don’t want to be distracted. The chair is $12.95 at, a bit more elsewhere around the web world.

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Planting fairy gardens, building bat and owl houses, creating places to play and hide in the garden, and growing your own vegetables: They all sound like great projects for children, but there’s nothing like experience to know that what seems like simple outdoor fun can, in reality, be sabotaged by video games and “Transformers” on the television inside. The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher ($19.95) is a roadmap for actually making your good gardening intentions happen. Schools also use the book, which is colorful and appealing enough to entice kids to dive in and choose projects themselves, saying, “We can do this!” Find it at local and online bookstores. 30 March 2014

Where the BuffaLoam


Locally sourced and organic in the earthiest way, Buffaloam comes from the high plains of the Laramie River Valley in northern Colorado. Gardeners give the compost, potting soil, and especially the compost tea, great reviews. To make the tea, add a couple tablespoons of the loose compost to a half-gallon of unchlorinated water and water plants. BuffaLoam comes from the Duncan family’s Diamond Trail Ranch, a ranch that also supplies Rocky Mountain Natural Meats in Henderson with bison meat. The tea compost is $16 at buffaloam. com. The products are also available at gardening stores across the state.

Dragon Carrots


We can’t vouch for this Internet factoid, but supposedly before the 1600s, most carrots were purple, giving an entirely different (and strangely 21st century) meaning to the expression “carrot-top.” It was just the stray mutant carrots that popped up as orange, white or yellow. Now you can get in touch with your inner medieval kitchen gardener with purple Dragon Carrots from Farm Direct Organic Seeds ( from Hobbs Family Farm in Avondale, near Pueblo. They’re bizarrely beautiful and about $3 for a pack of 600 seeds. The company offers an array of open-pollinated vegetable and herb seeds for market growers and home gardeners and they focuses on varieties suitable for organic systems and drought hardiness.

Princesses Love Gardening


The manufacturer calls this set of gardening tools the “Garden Goddess Doilies Garden Tool Set,” but the 3 year old we know best called it the “princess shovels.” The stainless steel and aluminum set actually has a 10.5-inch trowel, 8.5-inch fork and 8-inch shears, all decorated with a pink, orange, green and blue filigree. The set, from Boston Warehouse ( at $24.99, is certain to please the Marie Antoinette gardeners on your gift list, or maybe offer a personal spring indulgence. Use code “5400” for free shipping

Colorado Country Life Y W March 2014  

Colorado Country Life Y W March 2014

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